How to Manage Customer and Closing the Mortgage Deal

by : Robert Lawrence

One of the toughest things as a loan officer to do is to know when to keep or kill a deal. Of course, we all want as much business as we can handle. But, spending time on loans that don't close, wastes more time and leaves you with nothing to show for it. Not to mention, the good deals suffer and you're out your commission!

Knowing when to 'give-up' on a loan is just as important as knowing how to get the loan to the closing table. Here are some suggestions on how to manage your customers and get more loans closed:

1. Keep control of the customer from day one. Set down your expectations for the loan process and what you expect from the customer. Tell them that this is a 'team effort', and you are working as diligently as possible to get them the best rate and terms available for their situation. But, in order to do this, you need their cooperation and commitment to move forward. Tell them what you need, and ask them on what day you can expect to receive things by. I like to pin people down to a specific day. They hold me accountable, and I, in-turn, am holding them accountable as well.

2. Build rapport early on. Get a sense of the customer's personality and what matters to them. Understand completely what their reasons are for doing the loan, and use these 'motivating factors' to help steer them through the process. Every time I speak with a customer, I again tell them why they are doing this and hit them with their 'benefits' (cash-out, debt consolidation, monthly savings, lower rate, etc.). It is the customer's point of view that is most important. (By the way, my system will help you to uncover the customer's true motivation and build rapport-I include very specific questions to ask! Visit to learn more).

3. Explain every detail of the loan process. Sometimes, being in the industry, we forget that not everyone understands how mortgages work. It can be a long road to the closing table, and you want to make sure the customer understands exactly what is going to happen and when. You don't want them to think that they can just cancel third-party appointments such as appraisers or surveyors without consequence!

4. Always assume the loan if moving forward. Customers like to make excuses and waffle on certain things like getting their documents to you. What I do, is always assume we are pressing ahead and on track. I am the driver of this bus and let the customer know it. For example, 'Mr. Jones, I was just getting your file ready for underwriting, however, there are just a few more pieces of information we need. Do you have a pen and paper ready? How soon do you think we can get these by? O.K., I will expect to see your documents on (date). Let me give you my fax number, etc.'. Everyday, you want to push the file ahead as far as you can. Push! Push! Push!

5. Listen for signs of waffling or hesitation. Here are some things to be aware of, (which may mean the customer is still shopping you or is not completely 'sold'): customer holds-back on getting income/asset documents to you, customer keeps putting off appraisal appointment, there are recent inquiries on their credit report from other mortgage companies, you have received negative feedback from the lawyer or any other third party, customer doesn't return calls. These are signs of a customer that isn't fully on-board.

If you've done all these things and are still having difficulty with the customer, then it's probably a good idea to kill the deal. There are many roadblocks you can overcome, but when the customer isn't fully committed, you shouldn't be either. You can't drag someone to the closing table that doesn't want to be there. Get rid of the bad loan and focus on loans you can close successfully.